The Preaching Of A Deacon

The Preaching Of A Deacon

Book of Acts Chapters 6-7

The word “deacon” from the Greek word “diakonos” means “minister” or “servant”.

Jesus said:

“whosoever will be great among you let him be your minister”

Again Jesus said:

“If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all and servant of all”

Jesus said these that choose to serve can be my deacons.

The Church has adopted the office of “Deacon” and this office originates from the passage we will study today. It was the “deacon” that allowed the Apostles to devote their time to “prayer” and “the ministry” that the Lord Jesus had given to them.

We should see that the office of “Deacon” is to be inferior to and assisting to the Pastor, the Elder of a Church. It is the function of the Pastor, the Elder, to preach and to teach the congregation and the function of the deacon to assist to and to see that the material needs of the congregation are cared for.

Another thing we should see is that the Church does not tell the Pastor what to do and the Pastor does not tell the Church what to do they must both work together to find the will of God for everyone BUT the Pastor must be the leader of that local assembly.

The qualifications of the “deacon” are given in 1Timothy:

1Ti 3:8  Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
1Ti 3:9  Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10  And “let these also first be proved”; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
1Ti 3:11  Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
1Ti 3:12  Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
1Ti 3:13  For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The Church as the “Body Of Christ” is a living organism and compared in scripture with the human body BUT the head of the Church must always remain “Jesus Christ”!

It is the Pastor, the Elder that is to feed the flock until the Chief Shepherd reappears.

1Pe 5:1  The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
1Pe 5:2  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3  Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
1Pe 5:4  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

God is a God of order so there should never be changes in God’s Church nor God’s Word!

Oh, and when we see those words “not  given to much wine” it means that these men have been proved to be in “absolute denial of the use of wine”, just as the Elder!

There is no place for alcoholic beverage in the House of God and this includes wine!

Pro 23:29  Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
Pro 23:30  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Pro 23:31  [Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright].
Pro 23:32  At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

If we are not even to look upon wine, then we surely are not to drink of it!

Let’s begin:

*****Act 6:1  And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

We might ask ourselves when were “those days”?

The last verse in Chapter 5 tells us the answer:

Act 5:42  And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

It is the preaching of Jesus Christ that had allowed the Church to grow!

We know that the first church had grown from 120 when 3000 were added and now 5000 more were added and we know that more were added daily.

The church had been at one time, all in one accord but there had been some defection from this. Ananias and Sapphira had tried to deceive the Church and this was handled by the Holy Spirit, God Himself.

Now we see the Church experiencing growing pains!

What is murmuring? Murmuring is complaining. Murmuring is grumbling. Murmuring is sinful.

In Chapter 4 we found that some of these local Jews had sold their possessions and had given the proceeds to the Apostles to distribute to all those that had need:

Act 4:34  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold
them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
Act 4:35  And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

But as always we find that there were some that were being neglected and not always purposely.

These Grecians were not Greeks nor Gentiles but rather Jews who had been raised outside of Palestine and spoke the Greek language.

These Hebrews were Jews of Palestine and they held themselves superior to these foreign Jews.

This murmuring did not come from among these widows but because of them!

It was probably because the Hebrew followers that had been assigned to distribute to the needy, and these widows from outside of Jerusalem could very well have been overlooked.

So we see the early church was not free of hypocrites and they were not always clear of feuds and contentions.

This is how Satan gets into the Church to try to gain a foothold!

The Apostles wisely began a process to deal with these things.

We should see that when the Church faces a serious problem it is a time to come together and not to grow apart.

The Pastor and the members must seek solutions.

It is not time to divide as this only allows Satan to win!

We must regularly examine the ministries of our Churches to see if they are according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and meeting the needs in our lives and every members life.

*****Act 6:2  Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we
should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
Act 6:3  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
Act 6:4  But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 

The Apostles accepted that they were to blame. They had not only tried to be obedient to the Word of God and to meet the spiritual needs but they had tried to meet the day by day physical needs of the flock.

They realized that they could not do both!

They could not allow the preaching of the Word of God and the needed ministry of prayer to suffer or the Church would suffer!

The words “ministration” and “serve” are where we get the word “deacon”. The men that are chosen at this time are not called deacons at this time but the office of “deacon” came from this activity of the early church.

Every Church needs qualified leaders to handle some of the things of the Church so the Pastors can devote more of their time to the study and the presenting of God’s Word and to prayer.

These seven that were chosen did also engage themselves in spiritual and worldly needs of the members.

The Church was instructed to search out these that met certain qualifications and then it was the Apostles that appointed them and gave them direction.

This is basically the same approach we use here at Gethsemane!

*****Act 6:5  And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

We should notice that all seven of these men had Greek names. This indicates that they would serve the Hellenist of the early Church or those that came from places other than Jerusalem which had been neglected.

One man Nicolas was a proselyte and was probably the only Gentile among these seven and there was probably a particular reason that he was chosen.

A proselyte was a Gentile who had been converted to Judaism and now Nicolas was a Born Again Christian.

Of these seven only Stephen and Philip are mentioned elsewhere in scripture but this does not mean these others did not serve their purpose.

Stephen was destined to become the first Christian martyr unless we include John the Baptist and it is “OK” to include him as he certainly knew who his Savior was!

We also will find that Philip became a great and powerful Evangelist and “tradition” says that the other five did also.

*****Act 6:6  Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

Again we can see that any problem in the Church can be solved when the congregation can come together!

The next thing we should see is that there is no great mystery in the “laying on of the hands”!

This the first time that the “laying on of the hands” was used in the early church.

There is “no great transfer of spiritual power” through the “laying on of hands” this was a “symbolic” gesture only!

In fact it was more “a symbolic sign of prayer” that God would provide these men with the necessary gifts they would need to perform these duties.

These men had already been filled with the Holy Ghost when they were saved as noted in [verse 3].

So what is this meaning?

In the Book of Leviticus, the sinner would place his hand on the animal to be sacrificed. This meant that this animal was to be sacrificed in their place.

When these Apostles put their hands on the heads of these that would be deacons it meant that these men would be partners with them in the ministry of the Church.

This method of ordination is still used in most churches today and most Pastors go through this ordination.

It meant that these men had been set aside for this office of the early Church!

This was a social service within the assembly in Jerusalem.

This church tried to meet the needs of it’s own members and every house of God should use this as an example.
 
*****Act 6:7  And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

I believe we can see that there were still many sincere and godly priests in Jerusalem at this time and by witnessing that the veil had been rent, and the conversion of Nicodemus, the lame man, and many other signs and wonders and they would be well aware of the teachings of Jesus.

With the truth of the resurrection of Christ Jesus they began to understand the Word of God they had been so zealous for.

These were once the true descendants of Levi but now had turned to the Lord.

It could be said that it was the preaching of Stephen, as we will find out in verse 14, that caused more an more of these Jewish priest to convert from Judaism to Christianity. If so, then we can also see how this caused such turmoil with Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin court.

These actions by the early church allowed the Word of God to increase and the Church to grow.

Church growth cannot and should not always be measured by numbers, this Church in Jerusalem was also growing “Spiritually”!

It is sad that the world does not see this spirit of harmony in our places of worship today and to be honest there is much to much turmoil even in our Baptist Churches to the point where many are ashamed to call them selves Baptist.

I consider myself “a Christian first” and then I attend this Baptist Church here at Gethsemane because I believe the “Apostle’s Doctrine” is followed here. If that changes then I will seek one that teaches the “Apostle’s Doctrine” in some other place and could even be some other denomination.

I love our church here and we must strive to always be in harmony and for the most part we are.

Being “obedient to the faith” means “faith in the work of Jesus Christ Our Savior”!

Php 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or
else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the
faith of the gospel;
Php 1:28  And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

*****Act 6:8  And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Stephen is the first preacher/teacher who was not an apostle whose work is mentioned.

Stephen not only did the work of a servant but he sought diligently to lead people to Christ Jesus. We can see that God truly did give Stephen some powers.

God used Stephen to bear witness to the religious leaders of Israel and it is after this time of Stephen that the “gospel” began to spread to the Samaritans.

*****Act 6:9  Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

These Libertines were “freedmen” who were formerly slaves of Rome and had been freed by their masters.

All of these groups were Jewish immigrants to Jerusalem from other lands.

It is said in research that there were a great number of synagogues in Jerusalem that were for the use of foreign Jews who were visiting.

The Cyrenians were from upper Libya.

The Alexandrians of Egypt probably made up the largest group of these foreign Jews.

Those of Cilicia in Asia Minor would include Saul of Tarsus and those from Asia would be of Asia Minor near the Aegean Sea.

All these were very legalistic and very zealous of the Mosaic traditions, especially involving the Temple worship!

*****Act 6:10  And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

None of these including Saul, could match or resist Stephen’s wisdom and power!

Jesus had promised this:

Luk 21:15  For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

These groups could only see one alternative, they knew they would have to destroy Stephen!

*****Act 6:11  Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.

Most of these Jews were wealthy and they had no problem using their wealth to bribe some false witnesses.

That word “suborned” actually means  to employ  type of  “secret agent” to take one of their place, and to instigate or secretly instruct him on what to say in a court of law.

And we just thought that secret agents were a modern thing.

*****Act 6:12  And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught
him, and brought him to the council,
Act 6:13  And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:

This is similar to the way the Jewish leaders had treated Jesus.

These Jews were jealous over their law and did not want to believe that Christ Jesus had come to fulfill those laws!

They were extremely proud of the Temple that Herod had restored and refused to believe that God would allow it to be destroyed.

This verse is not part of our lesson today but let’s look anyhow:

Act 7:42  [Then God turned, and gave them up to worship] the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?

These Jews along with the world we live in now and certainly including America do not believe that God will give them up to worship as they please but they are wrong!

America is trying to remove the one true God from everything and from everywhere, trying to boot Him out of this nation!

This verse says that God will just allow a people such as these to worship as they wish.

When this happens Satan takes control and evil abounds throughout the land. We see this happening before our very eyes just as it happened in Israel:

Amo 5:27  Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.

and it is happening in America and everywhere where Christ Jesus is rejected:

Rom 1:24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:
Rom 1:25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

and we know that God has a purpose for everything He does:

Rom 9:11  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

And we also have no right to question anything that God does or has done or what He allows to be done:

Rom 9:20  Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

We must only believe:

Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Jesus preached that it was His body that is the Temple of God, and these Jews had indeed destroyed that Temple!

These Jews were not about to allow Jesus into their false religious beliefs!

Jesus had also warned them that their physical Temple would also be destroyed and that happened in just a few short years in 70 AD.

As I have already pointed out, the enemies of Jesus Christ will continue to attempt to undermine the Christian faith, by using distortions of the Word of God.

They cannot use facts because all true facts of Scripture, all true science and all true history supports biblical Christianity!

*****Act 6:14  For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

This enemy of the Church came upon Stephen suddenly and arrested Him while he was preaching.

They took Stephen before the same court that had tried Jesus.

They took him before the same court that had tried to stop Peter and John.

*****Act 6:15  And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

They saw something marvelous in his face. This man came closer to being an angel than any man before him.

It was not even necessary for Stephen to speak because the glow of his face told everyone on this council that this was a true servant of God!

These Jews knew all about the shining face of Moses. Stephen was not against Moses because he was like Moses and God was pointing that out to them!

*****Act 7:54  When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

Stephen had just reviewed the entire history of Israel along with the contributions made by the honored patriarchs.

Stephen had proved with their own scriptures that the Jewish nation was guilty of worse sins than those they had accused him of committing.

They had not understood their spiritual roots.

They had rejected the prophets sent from God.

They had disobeyed their own laws and made up some new laws that they honored even more than God’s laws.

They were stubbornly resisting their God and His truth!

There was a reason that Jesus had come at this time:

Gal 4:4  But when “the fulness of the time” was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

I believe the answer is also given to us:

Eph 1:10  That “in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ”, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

God is gathering “in one” all things of Jesus Christ.

This is the time we live in now and is known as the “Church Age” and it will soon be coming to an end and God will again deal with the Jews!

When these Jews heard these things they were cut to the heart!

These upper class Jews of Israel became a hungry pack of wolves and Stephen knew it meant his death!

*****Act 7:55  But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

Since God is a spirit then there can be no actual “right hand of God”!

This phrase indicates The Place Of Prominence and The Place Of Honor!

The FACT that Jesus is at the right hand of God teaches us that His saving work is finished but it does not mean He is not still working on our behalf!

Every born again child of God needs to take note here!

Our Lord Jesus stood up just to receive His child Stephen into Heaven.

Jesus is waiting on us all with open arms and He stands up to receive all His children especially those that have took their stand on His Gospel.

This world may not want God’s children but when our work is done on this Earth, we have a Father in Heaven who is tickled to death that we are coming home!

*****Act 7:56  And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

Jesus had used this phrase “Son of man” at least 80 times but this is the first time one of His disciples used this title.

Jesus had told this same mockery of a trial where they could find Him:

Mat 26:63  But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living
God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
Mat 26:64  Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Stephen said, “I see Him”, He is right where He said He would be.

Normally Jesus is often presented as sitting at the right hand of God acting as our “Intercessor” and our “Advocate”.

Normally a defence counsel remains seated in the presence of “The Judge”, rising only to make an objection when His client comes under sever attack.

Stephen said “I see my Lord standing” and “I am going on home”!

How long will He stand?

Act 2:35  Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

1Co 15:28  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

*****Act 7:57  Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

This pack of angry wolves could stand it no more they became what they were:

Jesus had described them earlier!

Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Joh 8:46  Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
Joh 8:47  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

*****Act 7:58  And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

Saul and Stephen meet for the only time they would be together. They were enemies and stood on opposite sides of the cross at this time.

This gives us an idea of just how far Saul had to come but we also know Saul never forgot this day.

Act 22:19  And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
Act 22:20  And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

*****Act 7:59  And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

John the Baptist had died for preaching the truth. It was God the Father that had sent John.

The Lord Jesus Christ had died because He is the truth. It was God the Son sent to save us.

Now Stephen died for preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was God the Holy Ghost who had filled him with His Spirit.

Through this act against the Church the “Gospel” would now spread next to Samaria and then throughout the world.

*****Act 7:60  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, [lay not this sin to their charge]. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Stephen fell asleep in peace and in grace while still loving the sinner but not the sin!

When a Christian dies they fall asleep:

1Th 4:13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

That old unsaved flesh sleeps while the spirit goes on to be with the Lord:

2Co 5:6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
2Co 5:7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2Co 5:8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Heb 12:22  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Heb 12:23  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

When Jesus returns He will bring back those spirits of those that are asleep to be reunited in glory:

1Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, [even so them also which sleep in Jesus “will God bring with him”].
1Th 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

When our loved ones that know the Lord die we do not weep in hopelessness for we know we shall meet them again when we die or when the Lord returns.

We need to realize that when the “Gospel” is preached powerful forces are at work on each one that hears it.

The Book of Acts will now turn its attention to Saul of Tarsus and the Gospel extending to the Gentiles.

If we believe in prayer and we must, then the Apostle Paul was the result of the prayer of Stephen!

Questions?

Let’s Pray

Are My Actions Pleasing To My Lord?

How Confident Are We That We Are Serving In God’s Will?

Text:

Rom 14:22  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. [Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth].
Rom 14:23  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: [for whatsoever is not of faith is sin].

We should ask ourselves if God is pleased with His Church of today?

After all, we spend much more of our time whining and griping and comparing ourselves with other Christians, or other churches or even comparing our pastors with other pastors than we do serving and in worship to Our Lord.

This thing is contagious!

We look at how other churches do things and how they worship instead of “how does God want our own local church where God has placed us to worship”.

There may be changes from time to time to keep our worship relevant and fresh but constant dissatisfaction is a symptom of something deeper and something sinful.

Unless we dedicate ourselves to our own church under the guidelines of the Bible “we will never know how each church or each house of prayer fits into God’s Plan”!

Decisions can never be made unless we do it in a prayerful and a biblical manner, without compromising the TRUTH of God’s Word!

Remember God’s Word is settled in Heaven, it’s not up to us to change what God says!

Psa 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

We should begin with the best translation of the scriptures for our own language. The Old Testament scriptures were in Hebrew and the New Testament scriptures were in Greek. I speak English so I need to find the best English translation of those original scriptures. I personally believe that to be the KJV.

We all need to research to be sure we have the best translation in our own language!

So, let’s look into God’s guidelines:

First let’s clear that word “damned” up in our text. A “Born Again” child of God cannot be “damned” to “eternal damnation”, but we can still suffer “condemnation” and “judgment” for the things we do that do not line up with the Word of God.

Both God and each believer should “condemn” ungodly acts that are done by the doubtful believer!

An We Need To Realize That Things that are done against our own conscience are sin “even if some other believer has a clear conscience of the matter”.

When your conscience tells you that what you are doing is wrong for you then it is worng and it is sin if you go against your own conscience!

All things are, indeed, legal for a true Christian but the main criteria that must be met is “Does it please the Lord”?

Some of these things should include the way we worship, the music we listen too and allow in our worship services, and also smoking, movies, drinking, drugs, marriage, just living together, dancing and many other such things.

The Bible teaches us that we must govern our own behavior in consideration of our other brothers and sisters in Christ!

So what are God’s guidelines?

In out text verse we see a big one:

*****1.) We have to have full confidence that what we are doing is pleasing Our Lord!

Our “faith” must be unquestionable!

So what else do we need to know?

*****2.) Does what I am about to do have a positive Christian value, without question or doubt, pleasing to the Lord?

Proof scripture:

1Co 10:23  All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, [but all things edify not].
1Co 10:24  Let no man seek his own, [but every man another’s wealth].

Does what we are about to do “edify” or “build up” other persons, or are we just thinking about ourselves?

Proof scripture:

Col 4:5  [Walk in wisdom toward them that are without], redeeming the time.

How does what I am doing or about to do look to those that are lost. Our goal is to reach out to the lost so we need redeem the time. Time is our most valuable possession and lost time can never be regained.

Our Christian lives are always shorter than our physical lives. We just do not have much time to reach out to those of this lost world and every time we damage our ability to witness we are not redeeming that time.

If what we are doing puts more distance between us and any lost person, then we should not do it!

*****3.) Is what I am about to do consistent with my Christian life?

Proof scripture:

2Co 5:14  For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
2Co 5:15  And that he died for all, [that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves], but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

It must be our love for Jesus Christ that is to be our guide in all our actions!

Jesus must be at the beginning of every decision we make!

Proof scripture:

Col 3:1  If ye then be risen with Christ, [seek those things which are above], where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Col 3:2  [Set your affection on things above], not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Col 3:4  When Christ, [who is our life], shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Will what I am about to do gain a reward from the Lord?

Proof Scripture:

2Ti 2:4  No man that warreth “entangleth himself with the affairs of this life”; [that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier].

We should ask ourselves, “if I get entangled in this” how does it affect my battle within my own self to remain pure and will I still be able to be on the front lines in God’s Army?

*****4.) Can I absolutely sense the positive leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit?

Proof Scripture:

1Co 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1Co 6:20  For ye are bought with a price: [therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s].
Do my actions glorify God or myself?

Proof Scripture:

Gal 5:16  This I say then, [Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh].
Gal 5:17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: [so that ye cannot do the things that ye would].
Gal 5:18  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

If what you are about to do is something that you use to do before you were saved, then you must be sure that it is the Holy Spirit that is your guide!

In fact we must always be sure the Holy Spirit is our guide in all our actions!

2Co 6:17  Wherefore [come out from among them, and be ye separate], saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

To be a Christian is to leave behind that old life!

We must walk away from that old life or we have not understood what it is to “repent”!

To repent is to have a complete change of mind!

*****5.) Will what I am about to do diminish my Christian influence?

Proof Scripture:

Rom 14:14  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: [but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean].

We must realize, that as Christians the world is always looking at us to see if a Christian is truly different from the world!

Proof Scripture:

Rom 14:21  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing [whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak].

We must also realize that there is always some one in the church that has their eyes on us and it is most likely a young child or a member of our own family but could be a new convert or any brother or sister in Christ!

Proof Scripture:

1Co 8:8  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
1Co 8:9  [But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak].
1Co 8:10  [For if any man see thee] which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
1Co 8:11  [And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish], for whom Christ died?

Jesus Christ died for every sinner that has ever been born and if our actions cause just one them to remain lost and they end up in hell, we can be sure we will suffer some loss at the Bema Seat of Christ!

Proof Scripture:

1Th 5:22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.

We must absolutely abstain from anything that has any appearance of evil!

*****6.) Could what I am about to do pose a danger that I could become addicted to it?

This could be a long list for most of us!

Proof Scripture:

1Co 6:12  All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, [but I will not be brought under the power of any].

If we do anything that comes between us and our Lord it is sin!

Any substance or Anything that can control our mind or our actions fit this description!

Proof Scripture:

Eph 5:18  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

This verse does not say it OK to drink wine but it does say that the Holy Spirit is the “ONLY” mind altering influence that we should partake of.

Proof Scripture:

Jas 1:14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Jas 1:15  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Our greatest enemy is our own selves!

Our mind will make up a million reasons to tell us what we are about to do is OK!

*****7.) A question we should always ask is, Would Jesus Do This ?

To be saved is to have the “mind of Christ”!

Proof Scripture:

Php 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

1Pe 2:21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, [leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps]:
1Pe 2:22  [Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth]:

1Jn 2:6  He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

With Jesus as our example then we need to learn how Jesus walked and be more like Him!

*****8.) If I am confident that my actions will glorify God then I should proceed.

Proof Scripture:

1Co 10:31  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, [do all to the glory of God].

Col 3:23  And whatsoever ye do, [do it heartily, as to the Lord], and not unto men;
Col 3:24  [Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance]: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

So let’s go back to an earlier verse and have a clearer understanding of what it says:

1Co 10:23  All things are lawful for me, [but all things are not expedient]: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

Carnal desires are the “root” and the “source” of sin!

And our “goal” MUST be to Glorify God in everything we do!

Amen

The Prescription For A Pure Church

The Prescription For A Pure Church

Book of Acts Chapter 5

Before we begin we found at the end of chapter 4 these words written about Barnabas.

Act 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
Act 4:37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

We will meet Barnabas many times as we continue our study of the Book of
Acts as he was one of the saints of the early church. We can see that Barnabas gave himself totally into the hands of the Lord.

Some will say that a Levite could not own land but that is not entirely true. God told Jeremiah to buy a piece of land and it was done according to the Law.

Jer 32:11 So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:

So, Barnabas had made a generous contribution to the early church and no doubt there was much talk of it.

And, Barnabas had a clear understanding of the words of Jesus:

Mat 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, o children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

This act of Barnabas was deliberate and voluntary. One evidence of this early “Spirit Filled” church was the way they sacrificed and shared with one another.

We can see that giving was a blessing and not a burden!

So today we get to see a lesson in “hypocrisy”.

The Lord Jesus Christ personally used the word “hypocrites” 17 times in the Gospels.

And, The Lord Jesus pronounced “severe judgment” on the hypocrite including the “7 woes”!

So let’s begin:

*****Act 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
Act 5:2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

We should be aware that it is not hypocrisy to set high goals for ourselves even though we may never reach them.

Failure to reach a “Spiritual Goal” does not make us hypocrites!

It Is The “Deliberate” Deception That Is Hypocrisy!

A hypocrite is a “pretender”!

Every “actor” plays the hypocrite!

When we try to be more spiritual than we really are we are hypocrites!

The name Ananias means “God is gracious”. He learned that God was not only gracious but God is first “Holy”.

The name Sapphira means “beautiful” but in her heart Sapphira was ugly as sin and full of it.

I believe we can see that these two intended to get the same admiration that had been given to Barnabas.

We know of many things that are an abomination to the Lord and a “hypocrite” full of pride is one also one of them:

Pro 16:5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

*****Act 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart [to lie to the Holy Ghost], and to keep back part of the price of the land?

The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not greed. They did give a substantial gift to the Church. Their sin was “Pride” that came because of “Covetousness”!

They desired the praise of others in the Church!

They lied in order to gain prestige in the Church!

And they had committed this sin against the Body of Christ, God’s Church!

This may not seem such a crime that required death but we must remember that the punishment came from God and not from the Apostle Peter!

God simply would not allow “hypocrisy” to gain a foot hold in the early Church!

This is not the first time we see this from Our God, when He has begun a new period of salvation history.

Remember Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron who died for presenting “false fire” in the Tabernacle.

Remember Achan who took of the accursed thing when Israel first entered the Promised Land.

What we see in these two people is the working of Satan trying to hinder the early Church!

Satan had failed to stop the Church from the outside and he would now begin his attack on the inside of the Church.

Satan knows our weaknesses and for this reason God told us all to wear His Armor:

Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

*****Act 5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? [thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God].

There are too many people of the church today that deny that the Holy Spirit is God. We have proof in these verses that The Holy Spirit and God are synonymous because they are the same!

Satan will always attack with his lies!

The Church is God’s Temple in which He dwells!

Satan wants to move in but he cannot move into a Holy Ghost filled Church.

A Holy Ghost filled Church will preach the true Gospel and follow the Apostle’s Doctrine.

1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God “which is the church of the living God, [the pillar and ground of the truth]”.

God will judge His people and that judgment will begin with His Church!

Ananias and Sapphira had it in their own power to know right from wrong and they chose to be unrighteous!

*****Act 5:5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
Act 5:6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

We should not get confused, this was not church discipline.

This was the Judgment of God!

Heb 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Heb 10:31 [It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God].

To be quiet honest, I believe this happens today more often than we think.

We are to judge our own actions by the Word of God!

1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

When we knowingly refuse to judge our own actions then we place ourselves in the hands of the Holy and Almighty God!

We sometimes bring God down to our level or put God in a box, thinking we can release Him at will.

But God is God and It is He that sits on His Throne of this universe!

2Co 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, [let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness “in the fear of God”].

God does not need our permission to act upon His Own Word!

Verse 6 again shows us that at death that Jewish person was wrapped in linen cloth and spices:

Joh 19:40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

*****Act 5:7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
Act 5:8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.

We can be sure that Satan always keeps his servants in the dark of sin and it’s consequences!

But, God always gives His servants the truth:

Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall “make” you free.

Sapphira may have come into the Temple expecting her husband to be exalted but what she found out was that none of us can defy God, none of us can dare God to act on His Word and not suffer for it!

Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”.

Their sin was not in robbing God of some money!

Their sin was lying to God and robbing Him of His Glory!

They were not required to sell their land!

And having sold that land it was not required that they give any of it to the Church!

It was their “lust for recognition” that brought on this terrible sin and the results of this sin!

Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Jas 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

*****Act 5:9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
Act 5:10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

We need to realize that God would not allow a lie such as these two were committing to exist in the early Church.

God expected “Holiness” to reign in His Church. These things have not changed as God still expects His Church to be Holy!

1Pe 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1Pe 1:16 Because it is written, [Be ye holy; for I am holy].

We must realize that there is still sin that brings death to the believer:

1Jn 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. “There is a sin unto death”: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
1Jn 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

This kind of sin was not allowed to exist in the early church!

The act of “giving” is the will of God!

Act 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, [It is more blessed to give than to receive].

God requires absolute honesty in our relationship with Him and Jesus spoke harsh words about “hypocrites”!

Every hypocrite casts a dark shadow on the work of the Body of Christ wherever God’s people are located!

So what were the results of this incident?

*****Act 5:11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

Again we see the word “Church” this is the second time we see it in this Book of Acts.

The Greek word “ecclesia” used here for “Church” is used 117 times in the New Testament.

Up until this incident the early church had all things in common. We can see that sin takes this away!

Great fear came on all the Church and many have been saved who witnessed the “Power of God”.

There is the great “Power” of the Holy Spirit to form the Church.

There is the great “Grace” of God to keep His Church.

There is now the great “Fear” of God to maintain the Church and this was brought on when sin entered the Church.

The Bible says:

Heb 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Heb 12:29 [For our God is a consuming fire].

*****Act 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.

It is very important for us to realize that the office of “Apostle” was limited to the eleven that remained after Judas died and the Apostle Paul.

The Apostle Paul’s situation was unique as he said himself, he was untimely born:

1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
1Co 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

The Bible also states that the Church must be built on upon the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets but Jesus Christ Is The Chief Cornerstone!

Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

We now have the complete written Word of God which contains the “Apostle’s Doctrine” given to them by Jesus Christ and led by the Holy Spirit in the believer.

Therefore the office of the Apostle has ceased.

It is these 12 men who were given great powers and authority and these powers also have ceased and not given to any other men!

To be an Apostle, a man had to have seen the risen Christ!

During the time of the early Church the wonders performed by these Apostles were the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to them!

It is now in the power of the pastors, the teachers and the evangelist to build on to the Church but only if they use the “Apostle’s Doctrine”.

The most important thing today is not miracles but whether the message we hear is the true Word of God!

*****Act 5:13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
Act 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

We can see that no more hypocrites tried to enter the Church at this time and it was the Apostles that were magnified.

We can see that true believers were added because all the unbelievers kept their distance in the “fear of God”!

Today the world has lost this fear of God and this in itself is a sign of the end times!

*****Act 5:15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
Act 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

We can see that people would crowd these Apostles as they walked down the streets and even had the superstitious belief that was healing in the “shadow” of the Apostle Peter!

The Bible does not say anyone was healed by lying in Peter’s shadow these people only supposed it might!

Verse 16 does not say that these that were healed were healed by faith but only that they were all healed.

Modern day “so called” faith healers are never able to heal never heal all that come to them or they could empty out the hospitals.

The gift of healing by the Apostles did not require some super faith by the receiver!

We can also see that some people were sick and some people were vexed with evil spirits.

These were two different groups of people!

None of these people went without a cure. This confirmed the Gospel preached by the Apostles and it irritated and provoked the enemies of God!

The Sadducees led the persecution of the early Church!

AND, Here is how John the Baptist described this ultra religious group:

Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

*****Act 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
Act 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

The purpose of this lesson is to show us that God takes “hypocrisy” seriously!

Jesus said we must worship in spirit and in truth:

Joh 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

These Jewish religious leaders along with the governmental leaders of Israel had decided to kill all these Apostles to stop the early Church but God had a better plan.

God used Gamaliel a well respected Pharisee to give this evil council the truth.

Act 5:38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
Act 5:39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

We live today in a world that refuses to deal with disagreements on the basis of principle and truth. When understanding fails people usually resort to violence!

We can see that the Apostles did what was required of the Lord, “They Rejoiced”!

They were beaten and warned by the government of that day and by false religion but yet they still rejoiced!

Their ministry went on without ceasing!

This opposition of men meant the approval of God!

When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we accept the fact that we will suffer in His Name!

We simply cannot cease to teach and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ Our Lord!

God will simply not allow His Word to stop until He is ready!

To follow in the foot steps of the Apostles is to be obedient to God’s Word!

Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

We are not to go about arguing religion or condemning the establish religions of this world, we are simply to tell the people about Jesus Christ!

2Co 4:5 For we preach not ourselves,[but Christ Jesus the Lord]; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

And that message is:

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Pride is the gateway to sin. Pride will lead to lies as we saw today where pride can also cost us our physical lives.

Spiritual matters are matters of life and death and we must be honest with ourselves and God at all times!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

The Praying Of The Persecuted Church

The Praying Of The Persecuted Church

Book of Acts 4:15-37

What does the word “Prayer” mean?

If we reduce prayer to it’s most fundamental element then prayer is “talking to God” on a personal level!

Prayer is all forms of communication with the God of Heaven!

There are basically five categories of prayer:

Praise, petition, supplication, imprecation and intercession.

Today, for the most part, we will see the power of a “petition” in prayer and prayer that offers “praise”.

Every prayer should begin with “praising” Our Father in Heaven!

“Praise” is honoring and glorifying Our Creator and Our Maker!

A “petition” prayer is a formal request of Our Father in Heaven and it cannot be made in a general, or vague or a careless manner!

This prayer is begging God to do what only He can do!

Jas 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. “The effectual fervent prayer “of a righteous man” availeth much”.

The first need for “answered” prayer is for God’s people to be doing what is right.

The Bible is very specific here:

Psa 66:18  If I regard iniquity in my heart, “the Lord will not hear me”:

Unconfessed sin still stop a prayer before it can begin!

Let’s begin:

*****Act 4:15  But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
Act 4:16  Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

We can see that these that sat in council that day were not moved by the preaching of Peter. They were only in a dilemma!

They could not deny the miracle of the healing of that once lame man because, that once crippled and once lame man was standing before them with these Apostles.

They could not explain how simple fishermen from Galilee could perform such a miracle whose only fame was that they had been with Jesus of Nazareth.

It is important for us to keep these things in context:

This miracle was not proof of the “Resurrection” of Jesus!

This miracle was not proof that Peter’s message was even true!

Even Satan can perform miracles:

2Th 2:9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2Th 2:10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

And false prophets can also perform wonders:

Deu 13:1  If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
Deu 13:2  And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

The truth of Peter’s message is that  The Lord Jesus Christ is “ALIVE”!

That Jesus was working in “His Church” through the “Power” of the Holy Spirit!

Peter preached from the Old Testament to show the truth of the “New Testament Gospel” to these that were Jews.

BUT, Miracles Are Not A Substitute For The Word Of God!

This council of the Sanhedrin court were not seeking the truth, They Were Seeking A Way To Avoid The Truth!

Sounds a whole lot like our courts of today!

They had no interest in the truth of the evidence “that was in their presence” this day!

It had been some of these same men that had tried to trap Jesus in His words!

We can see the proof that “a miracle”, in itself, “cannot bring conviction” to the lost!

It is only by the “Power” of the Holy Spirit that conviction can come to those that are lost!

The problem was not of their mind, the problem was in their heart!

The Bible says:

Jer 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

*****Act 4:17  But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
Act 4:18  And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

They now came to the conclusion that like all false doctrine that had come before this, that this was a new fad and would die a natural death in a short period of time.

They Were Very Wrong!

This religious group forbade the preaching of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

AND, The entire religious world is trying to do this same thing today!

Satan has been trying to silence God’s people ever since the time of Adam and Eve!

Sadly even today many of us have become “silent” Christians and even our own governments are being caught up  and swayed by these things of false religion!

We know that this is a sign of the end-times because in the Book of Revelation we find a Religious Babylon and also Secular Babylon.

Rev 14:8  And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon “is fallen”, “is fallen”, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

1.) We have the apostate Church, the “Harlot”.

2.) We have the spiritual Sodom, “The Unholy Worldly Alliance”.

This council did not want the Gospel Message to spread!

BUT, Satan’s attempts to silence the Church only leads to a stronger witness of the Lord!

When the world is trying to silence the truth of the Gospel, this only lends to the truth of God’s Word!

*****Act 4:19  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

Who or what should we obey?

Peter said judge this your self!

After all these men did claim Our Creator as their own God. These men had placed themselves above the Word of God and had even made their own laws and added them to the Word of God.

When “we are sure” that we have a “clear” understanding of the teaching of God’s Word then we “may” one day have to defy our own governments BUT we are “always” suppose to deny the teaching of every false religion!

God has given us the Great Commandment:

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

This commandment must not cannot be denied!

We can see this throughout the Bible:

Exo 1:17  But the midwives feared God, and “did not as the king of Egypt commanded them”, but saved the men children alive.

It is always wrong to murder anyone and that includes babies!

On the average 3700 babies are aborted in America every day.

Heb 11:23  By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; “and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment”.

Moses’s parents also knew this truth!

Dan 1:8  But Daniel purposed in his heart “that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank”: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

It is always wrong to eat food that has been offered to Idols!

Dan 3:17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
Dan 3:18  But if not, be it known unto thee, “O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up”.

In other words O king, “do what you have got to do, we are not going to give in to you”!

There are many biblical principles that we must adhere to rather than what our governments write into some laws!

Peter, John and every other believer are under the orders of God to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ until the end of our lives or the Rapture of the Church or whichever comes first!

We must remain in good conscience toward God no matter the suffering!

1Pe 2:19  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

*****Act 4:20  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

The Bible teaches us:

Heb 2:3  [How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation]; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Jesus teaches us all, that a righteous protest against injustice will always bring sacrifice and suffering but we cannot and should not, conduct a “holy war” just because of our frustrations!

*****Act 4:23  And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.

Peter and John when they were released did not go somewhere and hide. They went back to where the Body of Christ was located. They immediately assembled together and reported their good news.

*****Act 4:24  And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
Act 4:25  Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

The greatest concentration of “power” in Jerusalem that day was in this “prayer meeting” with the New Church.

Peter and John had come in from their first battle with Satan and the Body of Christ was meeting to over come that enemy of the Church and all our battles need to always begin with prayer!

These first Christians firmly believed in a personal “omnipotent” Creator, who had now become man in the person of Jesus Christ.

It is Jesus Christ who has been rejected by the religious leaders and by the government of Israel and by the World!

There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that God our Creator had made all things according to His written word!

And there was no doubt that this same Creator had come down from “His place in Heaven” and taken on the “body of a human” just for the purpose of saving His creation!

The early Church was glad to suffer persecution for His name’s sake!

BUT, it seems most Christians today are silent and tend to hide from persecution.

The early Church gave praise for the opportunity to preach the Gospel “at all costs”!

Today, it seems that many of the Church question our Creator and His “written record” of our creation in the Book of Genesis.

We cannot be saved unless we believe “with all our heart” that Christ Jesus is also Our Creator!

This reference to the “heathen” which means the “Gentiles” was meant to apply to Herod, and Pilate and the other Gentiles who persecuted Christ Jesus.

The term “Heathen” denotes the “nations” that are not of the Jews, and “rage” denotes an assembly such as an unruly “mob”.

This reference to the “people” refers to the Jewish mob, the Jewish religious leaders and the Jewish government who were also guilty of the same crime.

This a picture of the many nations that plan to unite in rebellion against God that we see today as we get nearer the end of the Church Age!

The Apostle Paul best describes the phrase “vain things”.

Rom 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; [but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened].

All these Jews had said that they knew God but they did nor know Him at all because they did not believe His Word.

This Is The First Act Of Knowing Him!

Paul also added:

Rom 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Our own worldly wisdom will always make us foolish when compared to the Word of God!

The Bible adds:

Heb 10:31  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Though the world we live in has lost it’s fear of God all that does is make them all truly “foolish”!

*****Act 4:26  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Today as we live in America there is a thing called the United Nations who are counseling together to seek a humanistic world government and departing from the Word of God.

We can see the outcome of these things in the Book of Revelation:

Rev 16:14  For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, [to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty].

For the Apostle Peter to make reference to [Psalm 2] indicates that he knew that the secular world would not accept the Church of the Living God!

The early Church felt the urgency to pray about these things yet the Church in our day does not have that same urgency and is not as strong as it could be!

Most of us Christians are just too comfortable in our walk with God. Shame, Shame, Shame on us all!

*****Act 4:27  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
Act 4:28  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Though the world gathers against the Body of Christ, the fact remains that it is God who is in control!

That phrase “determined before” is the same in the Greek as “predestined”!

God has told us that these things will happen.

AND, There is nothing that we humans can do to catch God off guard!

We have the complete Word of God and praise the Lord we are on “The Winning Side”!

AND, We should have a clear understanding the more we are active servants of the Lord, the more spiteful will be the agents of Satan!

The Bible teaches us:

Pro 19:21  There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

*****Act 4:29  And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: [and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word],
Act 4:30  By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done “by the name of thy holy child Jesus”.

This the prayer that was  made.

They did not pray for the persecution to cease.

They prayed for the power to speak the Word of God with even more boldness!

They did not pray for an easy Christian life.

They prayed for the courage to endure all persecution!

These are some of the things that we need to do today in order to get back the strength that the early Church had!

The early church clearly understood that God had a plan for all His believing children!

And they all were in one accord and knew “the work of the Church” is to glorify The Lord Jesus Christ.

For without Him we are “nothing”!

*****Act 4:31  And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Now we can see a second time the early church was filled with the Holy Ghost.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is not a once in a lifetime event!

The filling of the Holy Spirit must be often, even daily and comes through “earnest prayer”!

We can see that there was no “languages” or “tongues” involved with this filling but only the “Power To Speak Boldly”!

AND,  also for a joyful and godly Christian life.

What is the will of God?

Eph 5:17  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding “what the will of the Lord is”.
Eph 5:18  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Eph 5:19  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and “spiritual songs”, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Eph 5:20  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Eph 5:21  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is necessary for our maturity in the Word of God!

We cannot walk the Christian walk without the Holy Spirit!

The filling of the Holy Spirit is essential for every child of God to be that useful and that available servant to the Lord!

The Bible “does not” command the believer to be indwelt or sealed with the Holy Spirit because this is the “gift” of God!

The Bible “does” command each believer “to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit” in order to to be of use to Our Lord!

In order for this to take place then we must not “grieve” the Holy Spirit!

Eph 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

When we “grieve the Holy Spirit we can also quench the Holy Spirit!

1Th 5:19  Quench not the Spirit.

We can quench the Holy Spirit when we despise the  preaching of God’s Word!

How do we grieve the Holy Spirit?

Eph 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

How do we not grieve the Holy Spirit?

Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

*****Act 4:32  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

According to the Bible the “Heart” is the center of spiritual activity and controls all the actions of the human life.

The “heart” is the seat of our “conscience”!

The “soul”  can be said to be that life breath that is given by God!  It is the “soul” that retains the knowledge of God in every individual and it is the “soul” that is saved by the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Our Savior!

That word “common” simply means “ordinary”. Some believers were “well to do” but most “became poor” because of the circumstances caused by the unbelieving Jews.

The early Church considered their personal possessions  as just “common goods” which could easily be given up.

This was not an early example of socialism!

This was not an early example of communism!

These things were “entirely voluntary”!

These things were not planned!

Nor were these things enforced nor caused by the Church!

They only gave their possessions “as were needed” and were “very” willing to do this.

We of the Church should always be willing to share “as the needs” of our Brothers and Sisters arise!

BUT, this does not mean we are to turn over all our possessions to the Church leaders.

God does not command more than the “Tithe” and all other things are “free will” offerings.

It is that “free will” offering that gains God’s Blessings, not the “Tithe”!

To neglect the “Tithe” is to ROB GOD!

*****Act 4:33  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Even the Apostles needed to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit but they had one thing we do not have today.

They had that personal, eyewitness, knowledge and irrefutable evidence that Jesus Christ had certainly raised from the dead!

This is the crowning proof of Christianity!

Only God Himself can defeat death!

Jesus had demonstrated that He was and is God when He walked out of the grave!

It is this knowledge that gave boldness to Peter, And Paul, And John and all the Apostles!

It is this same knowledge that gives every believer the right into God’s Heaven!

Jesus said to doubting Thomas:

Joh 20:27  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
Joh 20:28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Joh 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: [blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed].

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

Persecution In A Hostile World

The Persecution Of A Hostile World

Book of Acts Chapter 4: 1-14

Many people always ask why do we suffer from persecution and we really should have only one answer even though there may be some other reasons.

Jesus teaches us these words:

Mat 10:22  And “ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake”: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

It is a fact that most all true Christians do good in this world we live in “But” even that good that is done is looked upon as evil in most of the world today.

Even in this latest tragic hurricane in our north our own president put down the good of the churches and asked people to work through the Red Cross. The Red Cross does a good work for the most part but they cannot put people on the ground as quick and as efficient as the local church.

BUT, It is a fact that any demonstration of the power of God makes this lost world uneasy!

The preaching of Peter had caused many lost souls to come to know the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But this same preaching that had brought many to salvation had inflamed the priestly authorities of Judaism in Israel.

The Sadducee were the ruling party at that time and they absolutely rejected resurrection in any form and especially any resurrection of a Messiah.

It is also a fact that this world’s religions reject the truth of God coming to Earth in the form of a human.

Most all religions believe that any Messiah will be some resurrected human from the past.

So, They could not allow the disciples of Jesus Christ to go unpunished.

Remember what Jesus had said:

Mat 10:34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: “I came not to send peace, but a sword”.
Mat 10:35  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Mat 10:36  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

Of course that sword is the Living Word of God!

At this time the high priest and his followers were answerable to the Roman authorities for anything that even sounded like a disturbance.

Any gathering of people that might suddenly erupt into a riot or a revolution could take away their limited power and prestige given to them by Rome!

Their answer to this problem was to try to stop the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

As we left off last week the Temple Police and the religious leaders were just about to lay their hands on Peter and John.

Let’s continue where we left off!

*****Act 4:1  And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
Act 4:2  Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

It should be very obvious to us all that it was not only a ruling government that led to the persecution of the Lord Jesus but it was the religious rulers of that day. These were the enemies of Jesus Christ when he walked on this earth and these were the enemies of the apostles as the early church began to grow and then we can add on to that the ruling governments.

These authorities tried in every way to stop the spread of the Christian faith just as they still do today!

Many lost souls were being saved by the preaching of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!

The church could have been stopped dead in its tracks if the world could only have produced the dead body of Christ.

We can be sure that they made great effort in trying to find the body of Jesus.

They could not find the “physical” body of Christ so they took steps to eliminate the “spiritual” body of Christ!

Rom 12:5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

1Co 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

These apostles had witnessed the Lord Jesus ascending into Heaven. They had spent 40 days walking and talking with the resurrected Lord.

They knew for a fact that no one would be able to find the body of Christ because it was not on this earth!

This gave them the boldness to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ AND This was also one of those infallible proofs that Luke writes to us about.

This enemy would surely have produced that body of Jesus if it were possible for them to do so.

Christianity would have never even got started!

The apostle Paul put it this way:

1Co 15:14  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

1Co 15:16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
1Co 15:17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

If you believe that Jesus did not raise from the dead, then you are still on the threshhold of hell if you are still alive and everyone that has gone before you is in Hell already!

*****Act 4:3  And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

Peter and John were placed in jail that day for simply preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

It had only been 3 hours since God had used Peter in the healing of that lame man and had preached a sermon that would cause these to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior!

Peter and John and entered the Temple in time for the three o’clock prayer time and it was now evening time probably six o’clock.

*****Act 4:4  Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

If anyone that calls himself a preacher needs an outline for a sermon they need to take advantage of this one preached by the apostle Peter.  At least 5000 souls were saved that day. These were true converts.

These were Jews who had recognized that the fulfillment of Judaism is in fact, Christianity.

*****Act 4:5  And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
Act 4:6  And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

We see this time that there was no midnight court for these Apostles and this is because of those 5000 new Christians and “one miracle receiving man” who had spent 40 years being lame.

You know it is just as great a miracle for even one lost soul to be adopted into the family of God.

This court was essentially composed of the family of the High Priest. The Jewish religious system had become so corrupt that the offices were passed from one relative to another without regard or the Word of God.

None of these men were not descendents of the tribe of Levi.

In fact history tells us that Annas was deposed from the High Priesthood by Rome and he was not about to allow that to happen to those of his family! Caiaphas his son-in-law was next appointed High Priest and at least five of Annas’s sons held the office of High Priest at one time or another.

In 1994 near a hidden valley in Jerusalem the stone burial ossuary of Caiaphas was actually found in the tomb of Annas.

These were real people and at a real-time at this time of the apostles and the beginning of the early church and not some made up story by these apostles!

*****Act 4:7  And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, [have ye done this]?

The first thing we should notice here is that these religious leaders had acknowledged this as a miracle even though they tried to make it seem a minor thing at this time! (this thing)

The second thing we should notice is that these religious leaders had acknowledged that this miracle was done by Peter and John, the Apostles of Jesus Christ! (ye or you people)

In other words, “who do you think you people are to come into the Temple with this stuff”

The view of Judaism at that time was that all illnesses and afflictions were caused by demons!

In their view it would take an exorcism to remove those demons and this could only be accomplished by qualified spiritual leaders or else by a follower of the devil as we know that Jesus had been accused of.

Mat 12:24  But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

This Sanhedrin council realized that these two Apostles were only fishermen and could certainly not have any such power.

*****Act 4:8  Then Peter, “filled with the Holy Ghost”, said unto them, [Ye rulers of the people], and [elders of Israel],

The power of regeneration can come only by the Holy Spirit and only through the Lord Jesus Christ:

Rom 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

To question the work of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ is “Blasphemy” and this riled the Holy Spirit within Peter!

And Christ Jesus fulfilled one of His promises to His Apostles which was:

Mat 10:19  But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
Mat 10:20  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

We must realize the more we go about the work of God, the more spiteful will be the servants of Satan!

If we take our stand on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will empower us!

Notice the eloquence of Peter at this time that is shown to the national leaders of Israel. This shows the wisdom of God that is given to the Christian!

*****Act 4:9  If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
Act 4:10  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Keep in mind that Peter and John were only fishermen and not educated and trained lawyers.

The Word of God teaches us:

Gal 5:25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Gal 5:26  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

And also:

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, [to stand].

Peter’s first emphasis was that they were being questioned “for a good deed”.

Peter and John had done nothing bad, nothing evil nor anything immoral and it was not a Sabbath’s Day.

They had been used by the Holy Spirit to bring life to a man that had been lame for 40 years. This man had been a beggar all his life and to God’s glory he had been preserved until this very day of his healing.

There can be no doubt that in those 40 years these same elders and the same rulers had seen this man many times and had probably provided an “alms” to him.

Peter then said if you want to know by what means this good deed was done then let it be known to you all and to all the people of Israel that it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

There can be no doubt that these words pierced the heart of these non-believers.

They had thought that they were finished with the prophet from Nazareth but now these fishermen were telling everybody that Jesus of Nazareth was still alive.

Since the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead then Peter’s statement was almost a declaration of war to them.

Peter made it known that it was these religious leaders and these elders of Israel that had caused Jesus to be crucified, but it was God who had raised him from the dead!

It was that same power of resurrection that had brought new life to this lame man!

*****Act 4:11  This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Here again we see that Peter knew that Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism and not some new religion but this is still rejected by the practicing Jew!

We should also remember that this same Peter had once been so fearful in his life that he had denied Christ Jesus three times.

It had taken a major transformation which was the fact that Peter knew beyond any question that Jesus had triumphed over death and had now energized him by His indwelling spirit.

Peter quoted the same Scripture that Jesus had earlier:

Psa 118:22  The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
Psa 118:23  This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

This “image of the stone” was not new to these men who were experts in the Old Testament scriptures. They knew that the “rock” was a symbol of God.

Deu 32:4  He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

The Sadducees used only the five books of Moses but the Pharisees used most all the Old Testament of that time.

We know that the Jews still stumble over this “Rock”!

Rom 9:32  Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Rom 9:33  As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

This is the stumbling stone that God has laid at the feet of the Jew and also at the feet of the world.

You see for Jesus was not just any Stone, “He is the Corner Stone of the Church” just as He is also the Savior of the Church and This World!

*****Act 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

This is one of the clearest statements that can be found anywhere in the Bible that sets forth the only way of salvation!

Only Christ Jesus can save!

It is Christ Jesus that created and sustains all things!

Col 1:16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Jesus had made this very plain Himself!

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

We can see that these Apostles “clearly believed” the gospel of Jesus Christ!

We know that this truth may be offensive to non-Christians but we must continually and consistently make it clear in our witness to them in an act of love for them.

For without Christ Jesus we are lost and bound for an eternal Hell!

*****Act 4:13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Many, if not all of these same men on this council had been at the  false trial of Jesus. Remember this day of Peter and John was probably not much than two months since Jesus was crucified.

They had seen the witness of Jesus and sitting before them this day they were seeing men that resembled the Lord Jesus Christ in many ways including their boldness!

Being with Jesus will yield a greater wisdom and courage than this world offers!

There are many things the Holy Spirit provides to every believer:

Isa 11:2  And the “spirit of the LORD” shall rest upon him, “the spirit of wisdom” and “understanding”, “the spirit of counsel” and “might”, “the spirit of knowledge” and “of the fear of the LORD”;

We that believe, can live happier and more productive lives with the knowledge of Jesus than we could have ever lived with any great wealth of this world or with the education that this world provides.

These men that were accusing these Apostles of Jesus Christ were of the most educated and certainly of the most wealthy in Israel.

But they had been silenced by God’s people!

Suddenly the accused had become the accuser!

Php 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

It should be to all of us “our goal” for people to see Jesus in us!

These religious rulers of Israel had thought that they had gotten rid of Jesus but they could see Jesus in these Apostles and in all who believed with all their heart!

Jesus said:

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

*****Act 4:14  And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

All this time they could see this once lame man standing with Peter and John with personal knowledge that they had witnessed a miracle!

All arguments are silenced when there is a direct evidence of the power of the Gospel!

What Peter’s speech could not do the witness of this once lame man accomplished!

All this time this council had not been seeking the truth.

They were seeking a way to avoid the truth! No matter what God does in this world we live in, some people simply will not learn or accept!

What they did think is if they just left thing alone, Christianity would soon pass away from the scene but it did not because the truth “is always the truth”.

Christianity exploded from this day onward!

The name of Jesus was in the minds of everyone in Israel and would be scattered around the world by persecution!

This world can only do what God allows it to do to God’s people!

And what God allows will further prove His Word is True!

Questions?

Then let us pray with them!

Amen

Proclaiming The Risen Christ

The Proclamation Of The Risen Christ

Text: Book of Acts 3:1-26

Our focus: Acts 3:1-8, 11-16, 18-21

We have just witnessed the first birthday of the Church Age and we will learn as we study the Book of Acts the function of the Church.

The Church is the tool of God to reach the lost and to hold back the evil of this world we live in!

1.) The church is to provide proper instruction:

Act 2:42  And they continued stedfastly “in the apostles’ doctrine” and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

2.) There should be proper “fellowship”:

Act 16:34  And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, “believing in God with all his house”.

3.) There must be proper “Worship”:

Joh 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, “when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth”: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

4.) There must be proper “Service”:

Act 5:42  And daily in the temple, and in every house, “they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ”.

Act 8:4  Therefore they that were scattered abroad “went every where preaching the word”.

The power to do all these things comes from the Power of the Holy Spirit!

Let’s begin:

*****Act 3:1  Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

We can see that the Apostles and the Jewish converts to Christianity, continued in the regular practices of the Jewish religion.

It was common practice for the Jews to pray 3 times a day, at the third, the sixth, and the ninth hours.

We should clearly understand that the Church is the fulfillment of the Jewish religion “and not some new religion”.

In fact Christianity is not a religion at all, “it is just the truth” of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

BUT, The Church is not and never will be a new Israel. These are two separate fulfillments of prophesy!

We have just seen in the Book of Ruth a “type” of Christ and His “Gentile Bride” which is the Church!

These are some of the things that were promised when the Messiah came and that Messiah is Jesus Christ! The word “Christ” is Greek for “Messiah” or “The Anointed One”!

The Bible tells us:

1Jn 2:22  Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is “the Christ”? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

If Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Christ, cannot be accepted for what He is, “God in the flesh”, then you are not a believer and therefore not saved!

This is the stumbling block of Christianity to the world!

Any man can be good some of the time but only God can be perfect!

Heb 5:9  And “being made perfect”, he became the author of “eternal salvation” unto all them that obey him;

*****Act 3:2  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
Act 3:3  Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

We have in this verse a man who has been lame from the day he was born and he was 40 years old at this time. We can see that he had someone who cared enough about him to bring him to a place where it was possible for him to get enough money to eat on.

At this time this was the welfare system of Israel.

Peter and John are often found together in Scripture:

They were in a fishing business together.

They prepared the last Passover before Jesus was crucified.

They ran to the tomb of Jesus together on that first Easter morning.

They were the first to minister to the Samaritans who were hated by the Jews.

They were now both filled with the Holy Spirit and working together to build God’s Church!

That gate called Beautiful was probably the gate that led from the court of the Gentiles to the court of the women. A gate that Herod had added when he was rebuilding the Temple and had it hand made of Corinthian Brass.

An “alms” would be anything given for the poor. We now call it “Charity”!

*****Act 3:4  And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
Act 3:5  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

Most of these beggars would not be focused on those going in and out of the Temple. They would hang their heads down because most of them were embarrassed for what they had to do to survive.

Being disabled is not satisfying at all!

Being disabled seems to take away from any purpose of life!

But this lamed one obeyed Peter when he was told to look at him and John. This man was expecting some money but he was about to get something much more valuable.

There should be no doubt that this beggar was not the only one at this gate of the Temple that day. It should be noticed that Holy Spirit led Peter to this particular beggar for a reason.

*****Act 3:6  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

Miracles did not happen at random in the scriptures. Miracles occurred in three major periods:

In the days of Moses and Joshua.

In the days of Elijah and Elisha.

In the days of Jesus and His Apostles and there were very few outside this scope of time.

Miracles were always given to authenticate a message!

God enabled certain of His messengers to perform unusual miracles to substantiate a new message they were about to give!

When the Bible was completed in the form we have today, a completed work of God, then there is no need for miracles of this type.

I believe God still does miracles everyday but we have to to be paying attention to see them.

It’s a miracle every time someone is saved.

It’s a miracle every time someone is healed from a major sickness and there are still many that happen today but we have the entire message God has given to us and it does not need to be authenticated by miracles!

Jesus gave the Apostles and maybe a few more the gift of miracles but these ceased when the last Apostle, John died.

There is no truth to Apostolic powers in our day. All work is done by the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ.

God still does miracles but He does not still do them through a person.

AND, It can also be said that the church is so rich in “silver and gold” today that the church has forgotten about the Power of the Holy Ghost.

*****Act 3:7  And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

If we pay attention we can see a “type” of sinner being saved.

This man was born lame:

And everyone on this planet is unable to walk to please the Lord. When Adam “fell” he passed his lameness to all his descendants

Rom 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

This man was very poor:

We as sinners are bankrupt before God. The wages of sin are only death!

Luk 7:41  There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
Luk 7:42  And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

Salvation was immediate for this once lame man:

Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

The evidence of salvation was evident to those around him that knew him!

*****Act 3:8  And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

Now that this man could stand, he also took a stand on the Lord!

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, “to stand”.

*****Act 3:9  And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
Act 3:10  And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
Act 3:11  And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.

Now we see the purpose of the miracle!

This entire audience is made up of Jews. Jesus had said:

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Jesus had told His disciples to begin in Jerusalem and God was gathering a large audience to hear His message to be preached by Peter.

Prophecy had said:

Isa 35:5  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Isa 35:6  [Then shall the lame man leap as an hart], and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

And Jesus said:

Mat 11:5  The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Mat 11:6  And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

*****Act 3:12  And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, “Ye men of Israel”, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

We know that at this time the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was presented only to Israel. Jesus had told the Apostles to begin in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem had rejected Jesus and after His Death, Burial, and Resurrection, they would now hear the Gospel to see if they would now believe.

The fact that the Gospel “will come to where we live” is proof of the Love of God!

Peter is very clear, that this miracle was not done by any power that he had.

The New Testament had not been written at this time and Peter was about to take the Old Testament and show them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

*****Act 3:13  The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.

Peter was now not some dumb fisherman but he was mighty in the Word of God. Peter laid the groundwork for his sermon by associating Jesus with the God of Israel, the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Again Christianity is not some new religion but it is the fulfillment of Judaism. It was the same God who made a covenant with Israel who then also rejected the Son of God!

It was some of these very same Jews that had delivered Jesus to Pilate.

It was some of these very same Jews that had denied Jesus as their King.

Pilate had truly put some effort in trying to release Jesus!

Mat 27:24  When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Then all of Israel made this foolish statement:

Mat 27:25  Then answered all the people, and said, “His blood be on us, and on our children”.

Israel has surely suffered because of this statement!

But God has not abandoned them as some think!

*****Act 3:14  But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
Act 3:15  And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

It was some of these very same Jews that had received the guilty Barabbas in exchange for the sinless and guiltless Son of God named Jesus.

For the remainder of his days the Apostle Peter will never preach another sermon where he will not mention the “Resurrection of Jesus Christ”!

Peter here says he and John were witnesses to these things and there were some in this very audience who were also witnesses to these things.

*****Act 3:16  And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

In His Name:

It is the names of Our Savior that also describe Him to us!

His Son Jesus, The Holy One, The Just One, The Prince of Life, His Christ, The LORD, The Prophet, The WORD, The Light, The Lamb of God.

He is Shiloh!

He is the Rose of Sharon!

His name is Wonderful!

He is the Mighty Counselor!

He is the Mighty God!

He is the Everlasting Father!

He is the Prince of Peace!

And He is the King of Kings!

He is the Lord Jesus Christ the true Messiah!

And He is Our Precious Savior!

And He is the Fulfillment of “All” the Old Testament Prophecy about the Anointed One of God!

*****Act 3:17  And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.
Act 3:18  [But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled].

There are many things that we do through ignorance and do not totally understand the results that come from them.

Even Jesus said forgive them for they knew not what they were doing!

We will never understand all the plan of God, but we know God has a plan and he wants us to be involved in his plan and not have a plan of our own, which is a greater sin!

All the things that were fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ were told about in the same Old Testament that all these people had access to.

The apostle Paul put it this way:

1Ti 1:13  Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, [because I did it ignorantly in unbelief].

To be a unbeliever does not give anyone an  excuse but an unbeliever cannot know the will of God!

An unbeliever relies on the laws of man and if the laws of man do not match up with the Word of God then they are ignorant of God’s law.

It is our job to tell everyone “who cross our paths” the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is not one single book of the Old Testament that does not point to the Messiah!

It may be said that Israel’s situation was something like that of the “man slayer” who killed his neighbor without prior malicious intent and fled to the nearest city of refuge.

*****Act 3:19  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, [when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord];

These Jews and the World of today need to realize that when they fight against Jesus they are fighting against the God of the Bible.

The resurrection of Christ Jesus was conclusive proof that He was approved of God!

The present power of Jesus was shown by His healing of this lame man.

The rejection of Jesus is an act of ignorance and God was ready, willing and waiting to forgive them of this sin.

To “repent” is a complete changing of the mind and is reflected in the heart!

To be “converted” is the physical act of turning from sin and Satan and then unto God!

It is this act that that will cause your sins to be blotted out in God’s book of records!

Isa 44:22  I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; [for I have redeemed thee].

Salvation is only on an individual level but Peter was preaching for the national repentance of Israel.

Jesus Christ had suffered brutally and died on the cross but there will be a time in the future when He will return as King and King of Kings.

This will be the time of His refreshing And the time of His presence again in this world!

*****Act 3:20  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

These are the things that God had shown by the mouth of all His prophets.

This is the message that God was giving to “whosoever” would listen and repent.

And Jesus will come again a Second Time!

Peter was saying this day that, “now is the time to turn and repent”. Peter’s message was that the Lord can return any day and the day of judgment was not the time that they could repent.

Psa 69:28  Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and “not be written with the righteous”.

On the day of judgment or the day of death, every soul will be blotted out the book of the living “but it will be too late to be written in the book the righteous”.

It will be too late!

Today then is surely the day to turn to the Lord!

This is the same message we need to hear today!

*****Act 3:21  Whom the heaven must receive [until the times of restitution of all things], which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The last day of the Church Age all the Saints that are still alive will be taken up into Heaven.

All the souls that are in Heaven will be reunited in a “glorified body” along with those saints.

1Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

There will then be a seven-year tribulation period proven by the Book of Daniel.

Dan 9:24  Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Dan 9:25  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Dan 9:26  And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
Dan 9:27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This period of seven years will be divided into parts of three and a half years apiece.

This last period is known as the Great Tribulation is also known as the time of Jacob’s trouble:

Jer 30:7  Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: “it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble”; [but he shall be saved out of it].

The Apostle Paul wrote:

Rom 11:25  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Rom 11:26  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
Rom 11:27  For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

It is at the end of this time that God will restore all things for 1000 years:

Amo 9:11  In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

This is the message of Peter to the Jews and this is the message to the Church today.

These things will not change!

The truth is the truth whether there are any believers!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

The Promise Of The Holy Spirit

The Promise Of The Holy Spirit

Book of Acts Chapter 2:1-47

Focus: 2:1-6, 22-24, 36-42, 46, 47

It must be very clear to us all, The Holy Spirit is a member of the Triune God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This is the God of the Bible!

In Genesis 1:26 it says “Let Us” and these words mean, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit!

A Personality can best be described as as possessing an intellect, having emotions, and having will. As we go through the Book of Acts we will see that the Holy Spirit possesses all these traits and much, much, more.

1.) Intellect: The Holy Spirit searches for the answers from God.

1Co 2:10  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: [for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God].

2.) Knowledge: The Holy Spirit knows the thoughts of God.

1Co 2:11  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? [even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God].

3.) Mind: The Holy Spirit knows how God thinks.

Eph 1:17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, [may give unto you the “spirit of wisdom” and revelation in the knowledge of “him”]:

4.) Emotions: The Holy Spirit has feelings, and is aware of our feelings and has the ability to respond to our needs.

Eph 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

5.) Will: The Holy Spirit has will.

Jas 1:18  Of “his own will” begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

An example:

Act 16:6  Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and [were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia],

Each of us have similar traits and in these ways we are made in the image of God but we lack the one main thing and that is “Power”.

2Ti 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; “but of power”, and of love, and of a sound mind.

This why the Holy Spirit comes to live with us after we have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior!

This is why it is the individual believer that is the Church and not some building or some man-made structure!

SO, What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

This is defined as the work whereby the Holy Spirit places every believer into union with Christ Jesus and into a union with every other believer as the “Body of Christ”.

1Co 12:13  For by “one Spirit” are we all baptized into “one body”, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made “to drink into one Spirit”.

So let’s begin our lesson:

*****Act 2:1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

This day at Pentecost will give us an example of the Power Of the Holy Spirit.

The “ministry” of the Holy Spirit is to “Glorify Christ Jesus” in the life and the witness of every believer!

Joh 16:14  He shall glorify me: “for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you”.

Pentecost means 50Th and it was held 50 days after the “Feast of the firstfruits”.

The Passover is a picture or a “type” of the “death” of the Lamb of God.

The Feast of the Firstfruits is a picture or a “type” of the “resurrection” of the Lamb of God.

The Feast of Pentecost is a picture or a “type” of the formation of the early Church.

There was no “Power” to form the Church without the “power” of the Holy Spirit!

Another thing we should realize is that because of all the things that had happened:

1.) The day of this feast.

2.) The death, burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

3.) The raising of Lazarus.

There were probably more people in Jerusalem than at any other time up until that day!

Those first believers were in “one accord” and believed all these things!

They now realized the plan of God!

Notice that Pentecost was always observed on the day “after the Sabbath” or Sunday, the 50th day not the 49th day.

The Church had it’s beginnings on “The Lord’s Day”.

The Resurrection was on the 1st day of the week, “The Lord’s Day”!

The tithes and offerings were gathered on The Lord’s Day!

This day was a once in a life time event and it will never happen again!

There can only be one day that the Church Age began because there was only one Calvary!

*****Act 2:2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

We can be sure that the Holy Spirit has not made Himself visible in this passage!

These 120 disciples of the Lord heard “a sound”.

“A sound” more like a tornado than just a normal windy day.

*****Act 2:3  And there appeared unto them “cloven tongues” like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Cloven means divided into two parts, much like the hoofs of an animal. Most of these type of animals were considered clean to the Jew.

These were not hooves but resembled a flickering flame.

Tongues means “languages” in every place it is mentioned in the Bible that is not talking of “that piece of meat in our mouths”.

These are the only two uses of the word “tongues” in the Bible!

These tongues looked as fire, BUT “they were not fire”!

They flickered as a fire does!

When the Holy Spirit came into this upper room, there was an appeal to the eye and to the ear!

Any “baptism of fire” is for all those who reject Jesus Christ as their Savior and is a sign of “Judgment”!

BUT, For God to reveal Himself by resembling fire was not unusual and these Jews had seen this in the Word of God, such as Moses and the burning bush that would not burn up.

On this day of Pentecost this “sign” showed “these 120 Jews” that God was present in the room with them!

This “sign” also indicated that God was approving the beginning of the Church Age!

Fire is also a “sign” of Judgment and all those that refused the message of Peter that day would be judged for their unbelief which is the only sin that will send you to Hell!

These in that upper room were to be Baptized with the Holy Spirit and not with fire!

Jesus said:

Joh 16:9  Of sin, “because they believe not on me”;

All other sin can be forgiven except the “Sin Of Unbelief”!

*****Act 2:4  And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, “and began to speak with other tongues”, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

You see the Church has “no power” until the believer is filled with the Holy Ghost and Only God can baptize us with His Holy Spirit!

This filling for salvation can only happen “One Time”!

Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, “by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost”;
Tit 3:6  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

And is given at the very moment of salvation:

Eph 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: “in whom also after that ye believed”, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

BUT, we need to pray for a constant filling to do our work for God!

Act 4:31  “And when they had prayed”, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

A study of this Book of Acts will reveal that biblical tongues were always languages.

It will also reveal that the tongues of Acts and Corinthians are the same.

It will also reveal that tongues are a gift of the Holy Spirit and actually a lesser gift than the gift of preaching, teaching, and witnessing.

And it will also reveal that tongues will one day cease when their usefulness was complete and this gift ceased to be given by the Holy Spirit when the Apostles had all died.

Tongues were a “sign gift” belonging only to the early Church and used only for the Jews and not the Gentiles:

1Co 13:9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1Co 13:10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
1Co 13:11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: “but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

What is the truth of tongues?

1Co 14:22  Wherefore tongues “are for a sign”, not to them that believe, [but to them that believe not]: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

We should be clear in this matter!

What we need to realize is that on this day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit also began His work of holding back “that Wicked” so the Church would have time to do the work of Our Lord:

2Th 2:7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

We use this verse a lot to show us that this work of the Holy Spirit will cease at the “Rapture” of the Church!

*****Act 2:5  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

As we said earlier many people had come from everywhere for not only for the Feast but to see the Resurrected Christ and the Raised Lazarus.

But there were also many devout Jews that had made their homeward journey back to Jerusalem after their ancestors had been scattered out for so long.

It can be said that this proof that there are no lost tribes of Israel!

*****Act 2:6  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, [because that every man heard them speak in his own language].

That word “noised” is the Greek word “phone” which means they used their voices to broadcast this message!

No one spoke in some angelic language and no one heard some angelic language!

People heard the Word of God spoken in their own language and even in their own dialect!

There was no one that did not understand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was being spoken that first day of the early Church!

What can be said is that this day of Pentecost was a reversal of that day at the Tower of Babel!

At the Tower of Babel and at God’s presence and at His “Judgment” people were scattered by the different languages because they could not understand each other “but at this Pentecost” believers were united by languages because they understood the Word of God and that it was for all people and all nations!

What was that message they heard?

*****Act 2:21  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Act 2:22  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Our lesson did not cover verse 21 but it  needs to be mentioned also. The Apostle Peter was referring to the prophecy of the Book of Joel 2:32.

Joe 2:32  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

This prophecy has not been fulfilled even up to the time of our day. This will take place near the end of the Great Tribulation when the Lord will call out His remnant of the Jews.

Zec 13:9  And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

This same verse is mentioned by Peter and also by Paul:

Rom 10:13  For “whosoever” shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

This verse shows us that from this day of Pentecost, that “whosoever” (no matter where they come from) calls on the name of the Lord, “Shall Be Saved up until the Day of Judgment”!

The Church Age did not begin until the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit.

It is this day that believers were introduced to the Body of Christ!

Vs 22)

We have already said that the main reason that Jerusalem had its greatest crowd this day was because they had heard of all the things of Jesus Christ.

1.) They had heard of Jesus of Nazareth, a fulfillment of prophecy.

2.) They had heard that Jesus was the Messiah, a fulfillment of prophecy.

3.) They had heard of all the miracles and wonders, a fulfillment of prophecy.

4.) Many that were at this gathering had been “eye witnesses” to most all of these things, including those 120 that had been in the upper room.

5.) Peter was preaching the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

6.) And it is the truth that “makes” not “sets”, us free!

If you are only set free you may be caught again But when you are MADE FREE, you are indeed free forever!

*****Act 2:23  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel [and foreknowledge of God], ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

We must believe that none of these things that had happened were outside the “Will of God”.

This had been God’s plan all along! This is the same plan that Satan had tried, to no avail, to stop ever since his attack on Adam and Eve!

Isa 53:10  Yet “it pleased the LORD” to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

*****Act 2:24  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: [because it was not possible that he should be holden of it].

It was an incredible thing that Jesus, The Son of Man, should be defeated by death!

To some this was a terrible crime!

BUT in reality it was God’s victory!

The Greek word “odin” translated “pains” means “birth pains”!

In other words that “tomb” where they laid our Lord Jesus was more a “womb” out of which Jesus was “born” into Resurrected Glory!

Act 13:33  God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, [Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee].

And what was the importance of all this to the Jew and to the Church?

*****Act 2:36  [Therefore] let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

“Jesus” was His human name and as Savior, He was ordained of God Himself!

Mat 1:21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

“Christ” which means “Messiah” the “Anointed One”, is the title representing His threefold office as “Prophet”, “Priest”, And “King”!

First to Israel and “then to all nations on this Earth”!

“LORD” to “whosoever” will call on His name for salvation!

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth “the Lord Jesus”, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Thus His full name “The Lord Jesus Christ”!

*****Act 2:37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men “and brethren”, what shall we do?

The “convicting” work of the Holy Spirit is shown in this verse:

1Co 1:21  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”.

Holy Ghost conviction is at work here:

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, ‘and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart’.

So what can we do?

*****Act 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, “Repent”, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Repenting is not just saying “I’m  Sorry”!

Repenting is a Complete Change Of Mind:

Php 1:27  “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ”: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Php 1:28  And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

Both Repentance and Baptism must be done in the name of Jesus Christ!

Repenting is the “coming” to Christ, and Baptism is the “evidence” of repentance!

Act 8:36  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; [what doth hinder me to be baptized]?
Act 8:37  And Philip said, [If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest]. And he answered and said, [I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God].

If we do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, The Messiah sent from Heaven, then we are not believers and therefore cannot be saved!

We can take as many dunks in the water as we want but we are only washing the skin and “not cleansing the soul”.

*****Act 2:39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

The “Gospel Message” is for all nations and “not just for the Jews”!

I am so glad I was one of those that was included in those that were “afar off”!

This verse is also an encouragement to parents. It shows the gradual progress of the Holy Spirits work, beginning with each individual, extending to the family, and then to the uttermost parts of the world.

The call of the Gospel is not confined to one nation, nor to one age, while we are still in the Church Age!

Psa 85:9  Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
Psa 85:10  Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Psa 85:11  Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
Psa 85:12  Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.
Psa 85:13  Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.

The message then and the message today is verse 40!

*****Act 2:40  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

There can be no doubt the intent of this verse. We are to get away from all false religion and all unbelievers and cling to the Lord Jesus Christ!

“Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded”

We must focus on the Lord and make the right choice!

2Co 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
2Co 6:18  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

We must completely separate ourselves from the world we live in!

Not to be a hermit but to be mentally separated by the Word of God.

Pro 9:6  Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

We must quit being foolish and trust in the truth of the Word of God.

*****Act 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Act 2:42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

What is the first thing we notice here?

When those 3000 were saved they did not just step back into the world but they stayed in the church under the preacher and were taught the truth of the Word of God.

They knew there was real a need to know the Word of God!

That word “fellowship” did not just mean associating with the Apostles and the other disciples.

To the early Christian it included having all things in common!

Rom 15:26  For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

To be a Christian in this day of the early church would mean excommunication from the Jewish religion and also the Jewish way of life and there was a great need to share in order to survive.

“Fellowship” today is to be understood by every believer as to break down the barriers that exist between all peoples.

It is a truth that the word “race” came from the teachings of Evolution.

God never uses any such thing in His Word!

There are only Jews and Gentiles!

Red and yellow, black and white, they are “all” so very precious in His Sight!

In God’s sight there is “no human” that is “Common”!

Heb 13:16  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

So what are the signs of the true church:

1.) A true church will continue stedfastly in the “Apostles Doctrine”!

Not some new man-made interpretation but the correct doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Heb 1:2  “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son”, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

2.) There must be true “Fellowship”! A sharing of all the things in Jesus Christ!

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

3.) There will be a breaking of bread.

This more than just going through the ritual of The Lord’s Supper.

This means a true relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ!

1Jn 4:18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
1Jn 4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.

4.) The true Church will always be a house of prayer!

Mar 11:17  And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations “the house of prayer”? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

*****Act 2:46  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Act 2:47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

To these of the early church it was not enough for them to meet only once a week.

They met daily!

They cared daily!

They witnessed daily and souls were added daily!

Their Christian faith was a day-by-day reality not a once-a-week routine!

It was by the Resurrection Power of God and the filling of the Holy Spirit and Faith in the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that formed the early church and it is only by these things “and MUCH Prayer” that the Church can do a work in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!